• Sweden edition

Swedes more positive to immigrants: report

Published: 24 May 2010 07:55 GMT+02:00
Updated: 24 May 2010 07:55 GMT+02:00

The SOM survey, conducted in the autumn of 2009, shows that 36 percent of Swedes consider that there are too many foreigners living in Sweden. In 1993 the figure was 52 percent.

"Never before have Swedish attitudes been so accepting as their are now," Professor Marie Demker wrote in an opinion article in the Dagens Nyheter daily on Monday.

In 1993, 25 percent replied that they would not like an immigrant from another continent marrying into the family, this figure had dropped to 12 percent in the autumn.

"Despite the attempts to mobilize, groups which oppose immigration remain a peripheral sub-culture," Demker wrote.

Among the parliamentary parties, supporters for the Moderates are most sceptical while those who back the Green Party are the most enthusiastic supporters of immigration.

Support for the right of immigrants to freely practice their religion has not changed since 1993, and remains at around 40 percent among Swedes. Supporters of the Liberal Party (Folkpartiet) have, however, become less tolerant of immigrants' religious practices today than 17 years ago, although it remains above average at 41 percent.

Supporters of the far-right Sweden Democrats (SD), who strive to make immigration an election issue, show the lowest levels of tolerance towards both immigrants and refugee centres, representing a clear exception in the SOM institute survey.

Among SD supporters, 95 percent agreed with the statement that Sweden "should accept fewer refugees" compared to 46 percent of the population as a whole. Eighty-eight percent agreed with the statement that there "are too many foreigners in Sweden" as compared to 36 percent of the population as a whole.

Since 1993, SOM has monitored Swedish attitudes to immigration and refugee centres on six occasions. The surveys are based on a series of standardized so-called tolerance claims.

TT/The Local (news@thelocal.se)

Your comments about this article

08:51 May 24, 2010 by majidaleem
its my first ever comment since i arrived here in 2008 so if it feels offtrack apologies for that :)

i m not a swede... only a student here... but i get the feeling from last one months articles on immigration issues that the Swedish government is trying to get its people ready for a new wave of immigrants to fulfill the workforce gap.

However, one thing to be taken into account, if something like this is in the pipeline, the government should try to incorporate such a policy where people with strong educational background are preferred which leads to less integration problems. otherwise people educated from here, wanting to settle here are just going to study on this country's expense and then going to move to Denmark which is capitalizing on the fact the people are trained from here and just by offering "green card scheme" they are attracting a larger part of international students for their workforce. (only in may 2010, 22000 applicant were entertained in Copenhagen for this scheme)

last year, policy did change where international students with 30ECTS and a "FULL TIME" job are eligible for work permit but thats not going to help as international students are not allowed to stay here as soon as they complete education they have to leave so to find a full-time employment is very difficult, in fact in most cases out of question.
09:07 May 24, 2010 by The Nine
It may well be down on 20 years ago but 36% is still a significant part of the population.
09:37 May 24, 2010 by byke
Immigration and refugee attitudes should be monitored separately.

A self sufficient professional from another country is or at least used to be vied in a completely different context as to a poorly educated poor person needing financial assistance to establish themselves in a new country (aka refugee).

Foreign working professionals usually have a better grasp of international multiculturalism through different working environments and IMHO has less chance of alienation with a country in terms of integrating.
11:38 May 24, 2010 by Freelife
Good to know..
11:46 May 24, 2010 by glamshek
Totally Absurd. Without any research. A full blown Biased report. Its actually the opposite.
12:16 May 24, 2010 by here for the summer
I don't believe their figures. The article is clearly designed to make it seem like the Swedish population wants more refugee immigrants but the figures don't add up.

"While support for the right of immigrants to freely practice their religion has not changed since 1993, and remains at around 40 percent among Swedes. Supporters of the Liberal Party (Folkpartiet) have however become less tolerant of immigrants' religious practice today than 17 years ago although it remains above average at 41 percent."

this doesn't seem possible both percentages are true.
12:56 May 24, 2010 by svenskdod
Like byke said, the difference between an immigrant and a refugee are very different. People do not like to lay much blame for crime, etc to the refugees. They have the most difficulty integrating to an alien culture, and with often little education it makes it even more difficult.

Student or profesional immigrants are what this country needs. Refugees should be taken in only as a last resort. If you think this is harsh, ask yourself this question. During the Iraq war when Sweden took (taking) in so many refugees, how many did Saudi Arabia take in? A very wealthy country like that could afford to house many people during times of conflict. Why was it left to Sweden to take in more than any other country?
13:22 May 24, 2010 by bbeynch
favorbale?? Who did this survey one asks. I believe that most Swedes recognize that Sweden will need a heavy dose of immigration to sustain her future. What can definitely not be done is to follow the social democrats' method of opening the gates and warehousing them in them in public housing projects, without infrastructure to assimilate them. Call it "forced integration" if you will. You do not have to look far to witness the social democrat immigration fiasco. I also do not for a minute belive SOM's statement above which seems to imply, that Swedes support admitting an endless stream of "refugees" or "family runification" entrants, almost 100% of whom end up on the dole, and who become useless and are here for the sole purpose of amending our lifesyle and our culture. Rosengård anyone? SOM in this case seems nothing but an organ for amarchists, socialists(they get the votes) and the dreamy eyed open borders crowd. Sweden MUST encourage immigration of skilled workers and professionals. Diametrically opposite to how it's been done up to now. Think. And vote wisely in september.
13:23 May 24, 2010 by Kronaboy
Well this article appears to have pissed of a few middle class, middle aged, Anglo Saxon farts, thank goodness for young women, they know a good thing when they see it.
13:44 May 24, 2010 by Kaethar
@The Nine: And I'm one of them, but that doesn't make me a racist or xenophobe. This report is interesting but it doesn't really serve any purpose - there's nothing "good" or "bad" about either opinion. If someone like me thinks there are too many immigrants here at the moment (making it impossible to integrate all of them) then there's nothing wrong with that view at all. Even Ken Ring agrees, and he's not a known supporter of mainstream society. ;)
14:57 May 24, 2010 by jwlundgren
workforce gap?? What about all the unemployed Swedes and current legal residents getting jobs first?
16:05 May 24, 2010 by truthworthy
this news is why this country rocks. few haters from outside sweden troll around this forum.
17:17 May 24, 2010 by Jes
Sweden is basically a racist country . A country that charters a whole plane to deport one refugee cannot claim to be anything else .
17:22 May 24, 2010 by Kronaboy

I put it down to penis envy, I grew up and went to school in a rough part of London with a lot a of black brothers, and every time I went in the showers I would thank god for having created the English man to make me look reasonably well endowed.
17:48 May 24, 2010 by grantike
In 1993, 25 percent replied that they would not like an immigrant from another continent marrying into the family, this figure had dropped to 12 percent in the autumn.

am not sure anything has changed at all am glad people are allowed to express thier views but sverige has never changed a bit, immigrant,refugee or nothing.it will still not change anything.i dont think so think that millions of refugees or immigrations will make me lose my job or stop this country from progressing.maybe some lazy ass people are scared of losing thier welfare money or from socials and what ever benefit.its bad that we can live and not let others live.it takes nothing away from me. lets get busy and worl hard.cheers
17:55 May 24, 2010 by geekgirl
It's funny how Sweden is often being criticized, especially by N. American neocons, for having a so-called "Open Door immigration policy", when there are at least 20 million illegal aliens in the US, many legal US residents (green card holders) who don't even speak a word of English, some of them may even be citizens (by birth - hence no citizenship test required as in case of Naturalization).

The irony..
18:10 May 24, 2010 by jimthat
so this only means mountig up the immigration -refugees -relatives triad .smarter ways to cheat the swedish control wich is allready terribly weak .and all at the poor swedish taxpayer cost .and if you dare to the littlest oposition you are named by the allmighty words racist ignorant or bad taste

i think those words have got a magic power .they can make shut up the most powerfull man or anybody .and those who use them are so terribly agressive and hostile they make you scare and fear for what the future will be .

any one just naming words like racist intolerant ignorant get a power out of all logic .becames a moral authority who can contol and censor any different expression .a question .

is that the future in sweden ?
19:43 May 24, 2010 by Celc
@bbeynch - Speaking of using your brain. You do realize the Social Democrats have held power for the better part for 80 years or so, right? In a country which has been 80% unionized and when they haven't had majority seats themselves they've been allying themselves with reformist-communists. At some point my dear you really need to take a look in the mirror and realize you are spewing of hyperbole.
20:34 May 24, 2010 by Jes
Jimthat , blame it on immigrants if you like , but you are very ignorant . Man , economics is a rotating science ! Even that refugee who lives in Social welafare plays a part in the your wonderful countries economic cycle . Think : those 4500 Swedes who work for the Swedish Immigration board ( and pay taxes as a result ) would be unemployed if there were no refugees to create jobs for them .

You should also be informed that Swedes were the first people to immigrate out of Europe . Read your history !
20:52 May 24, 2010 by blondelover
Swedish womens are the more racist ....!! I can say that.. but not the swede men
23:29 May 24, 2010 by manrush
This is excellent. And I will take full advantage of their positive views by settling in Sweden and finding me a nice Karin Svensson.
00:33 May 25, 2010 by DAVID T
No doubt most of the people they ask are "immigrant swedes"
02:01 May 25, 2010 by Artemis G.
No doubt most of the people hired to administer the survey are "immigrant swedes," who are paid for the number of completed surveys they return.

@Kronaboy, we are in awe of you and your penis.
02:57 May 25, 2010 by kzjh72
It is interesting how these discussions can go on without putting any real numbers on the table. It would be much more interesting to ask each party, group or individual that raises their voice on this subject to come up with the number of refugees they believe is appropriate for Sweden to take aboard each year. Words like 'more', 'less', 'to many', 'to few' leaves lots of room for misunderstandings. As a starter: What was the actual number of refugees Sweden took in last year? (I guess I could look it up somewhere myself, but I hope that some nice reader of the Local can save me the hassle)
08:21 May 25, 2010 by ali_bin_umar
Sweden has long way to go to become true multi-cultural place to live. Currently disease of "racism" is polluting many natives. Brain rather than skin color needs to be criteria.
13:19 May 25, 2010 by bbeynch
@ali_bin_umar; The truth of the matter is that few Swedes are real "racist", a term being bandied about with wanton disregard for its meaning. This would mean that anyone with slightest shade of dark skin would be unwanted. It is not so! Instead, what most westerners object to, is behavior. Offensive behavior is indeed an anathema to most Swedes that they will never grow to accept. Think of that the next time you hear about forced marriage, spitting on the floor indoors or when the next honor killing appears in the media.
18:24 May 25, 2010 by Jes
Ali bin Umar should not talk . Arabs are ther most racist people on earth . That is why all Somalis that had immigrated to Arab countiries are now leaving and looking for asylum in north America Europe and Australia.

This is not to say that Sweden is not a racist country , though its people are not mostly racist . Sweden pretends to respect human rights , but maintains a system that abuses refugees by treating them like captured monkeys . How on earth can a country claim to be civilized when it makes refugees sit in crowded camps to wait to answers for years ?

Even a murderer does not wait that long for his sentence .
18:53 May 25, 2010 by Kronaboy

It depends on what you mean by Arab, the Saudis and Jordanians (who are in Jews in turbans) are most certainly racist, but by no means should we consider all Arabs to be as low and despicable as a Saudi, for example I have found most North African Arabs to be highly pleasant enlightened people and in no way racist to their fellow man.
01:55 May 26, 2010 by soultraveler3
I always wonder where people are coming from when they use the idea of a "workforce gap" in Sweden as a reason to continue to allow 1000s of refugees into the country.

It was said above and I'll say it again, this idea is complete bs.

What about using the 1000s of native swedes and the educated, professional, immigrants (with their pug) who are looking for work to fill the gap? Half the swedes I know and a large majority of immigrants I know can't find or aren't allowed full-time work.

Interestingly, I know way more highly educated foreigners who worked as chemists, lawyers, engineers, scientists, doctors etc. in their home countries that aren't allowed to continue with their profession here. It's all because Sweden has some backwards way of thinking and totally wrong idea that the education and training here is somehow superior to other countries.

It's completly crazy not to use these people when swedes, for the most part, don't seem interested in pursuing education in these fields. It used to be different but most swedes don't go to university now, those that do, again, for the most part, seem to study "softer" areas (teaching, fashion, nursing etc.)

I don't think most swedes consider themselves to be racist or mean to be. There is an underlying current of bigotry here though. Most try to think and act the way they've been taught to, but it doesn't work.

You see that in the way words like "svartskalle" are jokingly, but commonly, used to describe almost anyone who isn't swedish. You see the segregation of places like Rosengård. You see the stares of everyone around you if you speak a language other than swedish. It's a million little things added together to make a larger problem.

It comes from a mix of the country being mainly homogeneous throughout most of it's history, a large, government induced, influx of refugees with a completly different culture, and the strange feeling of superiorty mixed with doubt and self-loathing that many swedes seem to have for some reason.

I do think it can get better though if both sides work on it. Swedes need to find a way to perserve their culture while accepting others. Refugees need to adapt to the culture of their host country and be willing to integrate or they need to go somewhere else.
09:22 May 26, 2010 by Tall swede
Sweden may need increased workforce. However, that needs to be educated, or easily educated people. Swedes are in general positive to immigration. But political climate here made immigration, refugees, or illegal aliens the same thing, which make it difficult to understand what people mean. We need immigration. We do not need refugees that lie, and have no intention of integration. And those that are interested in integration are very expensive to get to the educational standard of a high tech country like sweden. A lot of people from failed states cant even read. It requires decades of education to give a education that can match a swede. On top of that they need to learn the language. And if they come here in their thirties, we educate them for 20 years, and then they might just work for 10 years. Then they retire. In no way is this any economic improvement for the swedish society. Add to that the problems with peoples willingness to integrate, a 400 % over representation in some violent crimes, and lack of understanding of our culture with a welfare state.

This is math that is forbidden according to swedish media.
11:32 May 26, 2010 by Jes
@Kronaboy ,

if you think that Arabs in Africa are not racist , then you have not been to Sudan , or Egypt . Talk to a black man from South Sudan , or Darfur . Vist Cairo and see for yourself how black people are treated.

I agree with Soultraveler3. Swedes have a complex . They like you when they learn that you are needy and inadequate. They will be happy to train you, using plenty of patronising phrases . This makes them feel superior . But if they learn that you are educated and well informed , they will keep their distance . They feel insecure . That is why most educated immigrants fail to brake into the lSwedish labour market . They are systematically locked out .

Like one economist from Iraq said " You don´t come to Sweden to make a living as an intellectual ; you do it to save a life and secure a future for your children "

She worked for a Bank in Iraq for 14 years . In Sweden , she cuts hair !
12:25 May 26, 2010 by jwlundgren
What Sweden has not realized is that it takes 3 generations to really integrate a people group. The first generation comes in and just tries to survive and make a life for their children. They either bring their spouses with them or get one from 'home'. The second is the 'bridge'. They might grow up in the new country, but still have ties to the 'homeland' through their language and parents. They usually marry someone from the 'home country' or at least someone in their culture group. The third generation grows up speaking the new language, has friends in the new culture from childhood, may or may not speak the language of their grandparents, and usually marries whom they please. It is NOT a quick process.
15:09 May 26, 2010 by flintis
@ jwlundgren

Something you forgot regarding your integration theories! 99% of the "immigrants" live in the same area which for the last 3 generations they have tried to make as much like their "homeland" as possible. That is NOT integration, integration is attempting to assimilate with (live within) the culture of the land where you have moved to.

Just look at the "integration" in other countries where immigration has occurred on a large scale, the UK, USA, Germany, France, a minority have integrated & accepted the local culture, not many ghettos in those countries is there!!

Religion is not an issue, everyone should be entitled to their own beliefs, whether they be Pagan , Muslim , Hindi, Protestant, or even Catholics.
00:53 May 27, 2010 by Luke35711
Swedish education is mediocre, certainly worse than the best of US and UK. Technology may be very good, but science is just average, and humanities really poor. Socialists will give you only that much and that kind of free education which will ensure that they will stay in power for ever. Really good education empowers, inspires curiosity, life-long learning, and skepticism. Controlling Big Governments instinctively dislike too much education.
08:57 May 27, 2010 by Kronaboy

That's not been my experience of North Africa, as far as I could see most tensions appear to be as a result of Sectarian differences. Yes I will concede there are historical tensions between the Arabs, Tuaregs and Berbers but I would not consider it a racial issue. As for your intellectual friend cutting hairs, well I have some bad news, the way it works in Europe is that if you are Muslim you tend to be less integrated with each passing generation, so chances are her son will probably end up sweeping the hair rather than moving forward:

14:21 May 27, 2010 by flintis
@ Tallswede,

The last thing Sweden needs is a new influx of educated or uneducated immigrants. The policy makers have got to do something about the current situation regarding unemployment & "refugees".

They ought to concentrate on getting their own house in order before spouting off.
10:43 August 13, 2010 by bjinger
1, professional and international students immigrants shoud be seperated from the refugees. It's two differeent issues.

2,"Why was it left to Sweden to take in more than any other country?" the abswer is, Swedes acts as member of the USA led alliance, a good helping hand.
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